In honor of probably the most unnecessary trilogy ever attempted (The Hobbit Trilogy), I give you the list of the 5 best trilogies of all time. It’s not an easy task to put together three movies with a connected story and with a similar level of quality. Most trilogies have one or maybe two good entries but it is rare to find one that can continue to captivate an audience for three straight movies. Each trilogy has its lows and its highs but the five that I have come up with represent the best of their unique group. These trilogies not only kept audiences interested but where able to create a strong world and strong characters that were able to last for three straight films. So if you’re bored on a Saturday looking for something to do, I have 5 trilogies that are worth a midday movie marathon.
Honorable Mention: Toy Story Trilogy
Honestly I haven’t seen the Toy Story movies in a long time but I’m sure if I had it would of placed somewhere on this list (my guess at number 3). The story of a young boy and his toys are some of Pixar’s finest moments as the trilogy was able to connect to the audience and seem fresh instead of stale for three movies. I hope there will never be a 4th.
5. The Jason Bourne Trilogy
Forget the last movie, which I have no interest in seeing; the Bourne movies are some of the best spy/espionage movies around. Honestly each of these films can stand toe to toe with Bond as they weave a story of memory loss and international politics. Matt Damon is iconic in the role of Jason Bourne as he is able to produce an authentic character that is unique enough to warrant three movies. Then you have the actual movies that surprisingly get better each time around. Before Bond finally resurrected himself (Casino Royale, Skyfall), these were the go to spy films for a generation that was craving for them.
The Weakest Link: The Bourne Identity
The Strongest Link: The Bourne Ultimatum
4. The Dark Knight Trilogy
Chris Nolan not only resurrected the Bat but he also made a comic book film series that had a beginning, middle, and end. The best of the superhero genre, The Dark Knight Trilogy are the films that put Batman back on the map and made him the most popular superhero in the world. Nolan didn’t try to give the audience what they had already seen as he constructed a world that was both realistic and loyal to the character’s source material. Each movie has Nolan’ personal imprint while also borrowing from others who have made the character so great. I mean look at the comic influences of each film:
Batman Begins: Batman Year One
The Dark Knight: The Long Halloween, The Killing Joke
The Dark Knight Rises: The Dark Knight Returns, Knightfall, No Man’s Land
Each movie took from the history of the Bat and put him on screen in a way that made both non-followers and the loyal fans happy. Even if the movies do suffer from some plot holes here and there the films work as both a collective unit and as stand-alone films. These three movies stand as some of the best film making of their respected years and are movies that set the standard for what a superhero can do and mean on the silver screen.
The Weakest Link: Batman Begins
The Strongest Link: The Dark Knight (duh)
3. Star Wars Ep. IV – VI
The first real “Big” film series to ever come out, The first three Star Wars movies are wonderful escape films to a far away place and time. Built on a mythology that has millions of followers, George Lucas created some of the most iconic characters and moments of any film series. Innovative in the way that helped make almost all of these trilogies on this list possible, Star Wars was a movie that paved the way for films to come. It all starts with the mythology that Lucas masterfully set up that is as complicated as the worlds it visits and as simple as a story of a father and son. Star Wars may not be my generations trilogy but it has had a profound effect on many film lovers and its ripples can be seen today as are big budgeted franchises try to match the thrills of those first Star Wars adventures.
The Weakest Link: Return of the Jedi
The Strongest Link: The Empire Strikes Back
2. The Godfather Trilogy
This was really hard to put at number two. Not only does it boasted two of the greatest films of all time but The Godfather Part 2 might be my choice for the greatest film ever made. This is a true saga about a man who chooses to follow in his father’s footsteps. We see Michael go from a war vet to one of the most ruthless men in all of cinema. His transformation is heartbreaking as his choices help to punish not only his soul but also all the people he loves and cares about. His story spans three movies and his arc is one of the most dense character dramas ever made (in Literature, T.V., or the Movies) as Michael’s journey represents the American Dream in all its ugliness. Francis Ford Coppola crafted this complicated and dark tale that is one of America’s greatest story. The only reason why the trilogy as a whole doesn’t work all the way is because of the inferior third installment. Part 3 is actually a good film but it just pails in comparison to the first two. This may stop a lot of people from seeing the trilogy as a whole but I think Part 3 is good enough to make the last installment worthwhile. This is a trilogy that has two great installments and one good one and has captivated audiences who saw it in the early 70s and those that are seeing it now. This is a series that not only represents the best of cinema but also may be the shining example of American movie making.
The Weakest Link: Do I really need to say…….
The Strongest Link: The Godfather Part 2
1. The Lord of the Rings
No doubt that this is the greatest trilogy and film series of all time. These are three movies that finally adapted one of the most beloved stories of all time in a way that let Middle Earth come alive in nine hours of poor film euphoria. I mean this is why we come to the movies. It is a glorious story set in a world that is made so dense that the viewer can almost draw a map of middle earth when Return of the King comes to a close. Solid casting, innovative special effects, and top-notch filmmaking, Lord of the Rings is everything you could want from a big studio production. This would not of been possible if not for the brave choice by New Line cinema to finance three enormously budgeted films that run at 3 hrs each. They put all their chips on black and were lucky to have a filmmaker like Peter Jackson who helped bring to life a described “inadaptable” book. Jackson did what needed to be done which was to do things right and put the spirit of the book before anything else. At the end of the day you can’t help but smile if you read Tolkien’s masterpiece. These are the films that that book deserved and showed the strength of Tolkien’s high fantasy tale. The real joy is coming back to the films every now and again to fall in love with the Shire, the plains of Rohan, and the halls of Gondor like it was 2001. This is what cinema was always supposed to be and the greatest and grandest trilogy of them all.
The Weakest Link: The Two Towers
The Strongest Link: The Fellowship of the Ring